Today's excerpt is from Black Wings by Iryna K. Combs.
We hope you enjoy today's tease!
“Why do you not invite us for a cup of coffee?” He laughed and his Varkins sniggered with him.
“Victorius, get to the point,” Maximus retorted. “Tell us what you want!”
“‘...us...?’ ‘Tell us?’ A real leader doesn’t have an ‘us’. A real leader,’ he pounded his own chest. “A real leader has only a ‘me’! You, Maximus, are no real leader.” Victorius paused for a moment and his face lost its false joviality, became grimly serious.
“I am here to take back what belongs to me!” he roared in an increasing crescendo.
“The Core is ours—it was never yours!” Maximus called back as he stepped forward.
Victorius began to laugh. None of the Anlights could understand this reaction as they looked at each other. Victorius finally controlled his hysterical laughing.
“Keep the Core, my friend. I gave it to you!” He laughed again, a chilling, humorless laugh. “That is not what I have come for!” He looked over the Anlights guards standing around Maximus.
Maximus, Dexter and the Anlights finally realized what he meant. It was not ‘what’ Victorius had come for—it was ‘who’.
Annabel’s heart froze for a moment. Then, gathering a new resolve, she stepped from behind Dexter and at a deliberate pace, walked to stand in front of him and Maximus, in the center of the space between the two leaders. As she appeared from the rear ranks, Victorius’ eyes widened, his face became deadly serious.
“There you are, my precious! I could not see you behind this strong young man hiding you,” he admitted, smiling a cold, slit of a smile. “Are you special to him?”
Annabel did not say anything, hoping to hide the truth.
“Your wings are still as black as I remember them before you...” he paused for effect, choosing his words, “...before you escaped.”
Victorius took a single step forward, and Dexter came closer to Annabel and reached for her hand.
“Relax, young man!” Victorius laughed. “If I fight anybody, it will be one equal to me.” He looked at Maximus. “I am not going to waste my time on these...” He looked over the Anlights guards. “...little boys who surround you, Maximus.”
“You are not getting Annabel either, Victorius!” Maximus declared firmly, also stepping forward.
“Well, my friend...” Victorius said. “Let her decide this.” He smiled looking at Annabel. “Maybe somebody else can convince you, my child?” As he said it, he stretched his hand to the crowd behind him and the Varkins divided their ranks, creating a pathway through them. Someone came from their rear, slowly walking between them, and stopped beside Victorius. She took his hand and let him kiss her as she smiled at him. Annabel looked at the woman, trying to understand why Victorius had suggested somebody else could convince her.
Suddenly Annabel’s heart stood still as she whispered. “She’s not a Varkin.”